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You, The Jeweler

Some businesspeople may live by the mantra, “Show us the money!” But at INSTORE, it has always been, “Show us the jeweler!” And this is the section where we get to know you better — your personality, quirks, and the principles that you live and do business by.

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45. What is your gender? | 46. What’s your race or ethnicity?

The Big Survey 2021: You, The Jeweler

Note: In the last five years, the jewelry industry has become a little more diverse (it was 95% white according to our 2016 Big Survey), but at 92.4%, it is still one of the whitest sectors in the American economy, lagging only veterinarians, ranchers, pilots, steel workers, doctor’s office workers and a couple more job categories, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s even whiter than the C-suite (90.6% white)! Note that whites accounted for about 78% of the American workforce in 2018. The gender makeup of store owners has also changed little in recent years.

47. How old are you?

The Big Survey 2021: You, The Jeweler

48. Where do you feel poorest?

Time
67%
Money
7%
Friends
7%
Status/achievement
3%
Life experiences
5%
Other
12%
The overwhelming portion of Other responses were from jewelers who said they didn’t feel poor in any way. “I am rich beyond imagination! Never ever thought this would be my life,” commented one.
Said another: “It’s a filthy, stressful job, but I can’t imagine being anything else.”
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49. What are the most overrated things about being a jeweler? Here were your answers, counting down from 10…

The Big Survey 2021: You, The Jeweler

  • “Drugs, sex, and rock ’n roll.”
  • “I suppose that outsiders think it’s a very glamorous job. I still clean the basement and bathrooms at the store … I just get to play with jewelry when I’m not!”

50. If you wear a Fitbit/Apple Watch or some other activity tracker, about how many steps do you take during a typical workday?

Fewer than 2,500
4%
2,500
12%
5,000
32%
7,500
22%
10,000
18%
12,500
8%
15,500
12%
20,000
12%
More than 20,000
1%
Our tally excludes the 51% of respondents who said they don’t track their steps. While there is debate over the optimum number of steps to aim for in a day (the gains from walking appear to top out at about 8,000 steps a day), the basic rule remains: physical activity has great health benefits, That suggests that almost half of jewelers should be trying to move around a bit more.

51. Regardless of whether you own a pet, do you think of yourself as a …

Dog person
59%
Cat person
11%
Some other animal (fish, horse … )
1%
All-pet person
18%
No pet person
11%
Note: According to a study done by psychology researchers at the University of Texas in Austin, dog people are more extroverted and agreeable; cat people are more neurotic, but also more open to new experiences. Make of that what you will.
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52. Are you …

The Big Survey 2021: You, The Jeweler

53. Please tell us the most important business lesson your parents gave you.

Parents most often cited honesty as the best policy. They also advised their kids to “make hay while the sun is shining,” “treat others how you want to be treated” and remember that “the customer is almost always right.”

Other advice offered by parents includes:

  • “They started this company in 1959 and showed me that being self-employed meant that we were charged with the accountability of every dollar that comes in the door. The bank and vendors are paid first, then employees and utilities, and then what is mine, is my paycheck. The rest stays in the company to grow it and have that nest egg when the unexpected downturns occur. For hard times do come, and never the same way twice.”
  • “‘If you are going through hell, keep going.’ Winston Churchill said it first, but my dad used to tell me that in the early days of business, and in the days of having teenagers.”
  • “Count your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.Business goes where it is invited, and abides where it is well treated.”
  • “My father taught me as a very young man how to deal with loud and angry customers. The louder they talk, the softer you talk. It always disarms the grouchy customers.”
  • “Every piece of jewelry is precious to someone. Whether it’s a $10,000 diamond or a little synthetic stone pendant. Someone gave that to them.And we need to remember that.”
  • “If you plant enough seeds, you’ll have business. Advertising is getting the word out. Tell enough people about what you do, and they’ll call you when the time is right.”
  • “Greet everyone who walks in your door. They chose YOU, not your competitors.”
  • “You can’t only buy what you like. Sometimes you have to buy ugly because some people like ugly stuff!”

54. What will be the most important business lesson you will try to pass on to your children? (Imaginary child is fine).

Jewelers talking to their children, real or imagined, continue to stress the importance of honesty, but they also strongly emphasize the value of living a balanced life. “Work to live,” they say. “Don’t live to work.”

Said one: “No one on their deathbed ever says, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’ Go fishing, make it to all the recitals, school plays and ball games. Live in a smaller house than you would like, drive an older car, live below your means.”

More words of wisdom for jewelers’ children:

  • “Be a five-star person to everyone. You can’t go wrong doing right.”
  • “Figure out what the thing is that you do really, really well and focus on that, and then delegate the rest to people who are better than you.”
  • “Don’t go into debt; you will not climb out easily.“
  • “It is more important to be happy with what you do in life than tying your identity into a business.”
  • “Do what you love, and the money will follow if you work your ass off.”
  • “Don’t expect others to do what you are unwilling to do. Lead by example.“
  • “Charge what you are worth, not what you think somebody else thinks you’re worth.”

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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It’s Going to Set Us Up Very Nicely for Retirement

You’ve worked hard all your life. And if you’re like most jewelers contemplating retirement, you’re hoping that your going-out-of-business sale will add to your nest egg — with minimal complications. That’s exactly what Doug and Jacki Friedrich, fourth-generation owners of Friedrich Jewelers Inc., of Vernon, Conn., experienced when they selected Wilkerson to run their sale. “Jewelers who are contemplating a sale should go with Wilkerson because of their experience,” says Doug. And with financial goals “exceeding expectations,” the couple can now focus on enjoying the next chapter of their lives. “It’s going to set us up very nicely for retirement,” says Jacki. “The money’s coming in and we have no complaints. It’s been wonderful.”

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